# How important is insurance?

• BigT

How important is insurance?

I read that uk rules are very bad because you don’t get insurance. Playing perfect BS puts the house edge at 0.55%, a TC of +1 is pretty much an even game and a TC +2 gives the player advantage of 0.45% so unless not having insurance is such a huge advantage that it cancels out the TC edge, how can it possibly be a worthless game?

That is, if what I said is right. I’m fairly new and still learning so don’t kill me if im wrong!

• tthree
Quote: BigT said:
I read that uk rules are very bad because you don’t get insurance. Playing perfect BS puts the house edge at 0.55%, a TC of +1 is pretty much an even game and a TC +2 gives the player advantage of 0.45% so unless not having insurance is such a huge advantage that it cancels out the TC edge, how can it possibly be a worthless game?

That is, if what I said is right. I’m fairly new and still learning so don’t kill me if im wrong!

Insurance is a bet with a high correlation to any count. Even the ace reckoned counts which lump aces in with tens. Advantage (EV) accumulates quickly as the index is exceeded and you always have a big bet out in this circumstance. It pays 2:1 which further amplifies advantage. When used properly insurance is very important for a counter.

Insurance is much more important to a counter than to a non-counting player. When the deck is rich in tens, the counter will have a much bigger than normal bet riding, so his ability to take insurance is a game saver.
It doesn’t take much to change the insurance bet from a sucker bet to a good bet.
There are 52 cards in a deck. If the dealer has an ace showing, that leaves 51. you have two cards. If neither are a ten. that means of the 49 left, 16 are 10s. If you can see two more cards on the table and neither are 10s, now the ration is 16/47. At this point, insurance becomes profitible. If you play out every single card in the deck you win 16 bets and lose 31, but your wins arr at 2-1 so you total 32 units won, 31 lost.
A counter will bet more when the deck is full of tens, so when a dealer shows an Ace and the counter has a big bet out, insurance will be quite useful to him as the chances of the dealer having a ten are higher than normal.

• tthree
Insurance is much more important to a counter than to a non-counting player. When the deck is rich in tens, the counter will have a much bigger than normal bet riding, so his ability to take insurance is a game saver.
It doesn’t take much to change the insurance bet from a sucker bet to a good bet.
There are 52 cards in a deck. If the dealer has an ace showing, that leaves 51. you have two cards. If neither are a ten. that means of the 49 left, 16 are 10s. If you can see two more cards on the table and neither are 10s, now the ration is 16/47. At this point, insurance becomes profitible. If you play out every single card in the deck you win 16 bets and lose 31, but your wins arr at 2-1 so you total 32 units won, 31 lost.
A counter will bet more when the deck is full of tens, so when a dealer shows an Ace and the counter has a big bet out, insurance will be quite useful to him as the chances of the dealer having a ten are higher than normal.

True for SD but with more decks you need more cards removed so the per deck removal is the same. I know you know Shad but don’t want the newb making bad insurance bets.

Quote: tthree said:
True for SD but with more decks you need more cards removed so the per deck removal is the same. I know you know Shad but don’t want the newb making bad insurance bets.

The ratio remains the same, no matter how many decks are in play.

• tthree
The ratio remains the same, no matter how many decks are in play.

Correct but the number of cards to change the ratio changes with the number of decks yet to be played. I know you understand. Again for the OP so he is not playing with 6 decks left and see 6 cards and figure insurance is a good bet.

Quote: BigT said:
I read that uk rules are very bad because you don’t get insurance. Playing perfect BS puts the house edge at 0.55%, a TC of +1 is pretty much an even game and a TC +2 gives the player advantage of 0.45% so unless not having insurance is such a huge advantage that it cancels out the TC edge, how can it possibly be a worthless game?

That is, if what I said is right. I’m fairly new and still learning so don’t kill me if im wrong!

There are various casinos in the UK that now offer insurance on a dealer ace.
In any case do not be disillusioned if they don`t. There are a lot more important factors, such as penetration, and if you look hard enough, there are some very good games out there.

Generally if you have a larger bet spread, which you can get away with, You can still crush the UK games. But higher spread- means larger possible variance. Make sure you have the sufficient bankroll to get you through the bad times

• UK-21

Contrary to some beliefs, as the vast majority of blackjack games in the UK are played with six decks, only being able to insure a natural is not the end of the world. Here’s what Arnold Snyder had to say on the matter:

“Insurance” doesn’t actually insure against anything – it’s a side bet, and it is possible to lose this side bet (dealer doesn’t have a natural) and the main bet (dealer draws to a winning hand) at the same time.

• tthree

Insurance, by far the most valuable basic strategy deviation

Quote: UK-21 said:
Contrary to some beliefs, as the vast majority of blackjack games in the UK are played with six decks, only being able to insure a natural is not the end of the world. Here’s what Arnold Snyder had to say on the matter:

“Insurance” doesn’t actually insure against anything – it’s a side bet, and it is possible to lose this side bet (dealer doesn’t have a natural) and the main bet (dealer draws to a winning hand) at the same time.

Insurance is actually listed as the most important index in the illustrious 18. That would make it the most important index. The Snyder reference is for a basic strategy player. Insurance is always a horrible bet for the basic strategy player. It can be a very good bet for the counter that pays 2:1 with a large bet or 2 out to bet half of with a large advantage. I assume you are a counter. You should focus on the Griffin reference. It shows a 0.5% advantage gain from insurance (an errant reference); however, as I turn to page 30 it shows 0.186% advantage gain. At .186% it is twice as valuable as the highest index play without insurance and almost 4 times as valuable as the second next valuable index play.

• UK-21

I’ve left it a few days so I could refer to tToB. 0.186%? That refers to a single deck game. All of the references within the chapter refer to 52-x cards being taken into consideration?

If you want to play BJ in the UK you’re generally stuck with six decks – four in a few places. The advantage of the insurance rule, if it were available in full, would therefore be diluted down by the increased number of cards in play, and the fact that the point of taking insurance will arise less often.

Page 70 of Peter Griffin’s book is quite enlightening and highlights the fall off in advantage for the four deck game. The six deck game will, of course, be even more affected.

There seems to be a tendency with the UK insurance rule question to compare apples and oranges.

• Percy

Going without insurance will not stop you making money counting cards. Many other things will.

Insurance to the non-counting player, if taken with typically high expectation hands (19, 20, 21), will reduce your variance at a cost to your EV. Given that, it is aptly named.

Good luck.

• tthree